Equipped with my new sewing machine know-how and a whole day to dedicate to it, I couldn’t wait to get started on Simplicity K1609, which came free with the July edition of Sew Magazine. I’d also spied Amanda’s (of Sew Deputy) beautiful eyelet version and knew I had to try it.
I know, I know! There aren’t any fancy buttonholes or use of anything even vaguely ‘knitted’ apparent in my Galloping Horses dress, but I definitely felt more in control of my machine 🙂 And here are a whole host of new, but admittedly very basic ‘skills’ I learnt, and yes, I did manage to harness my impatience and finally slow down too…
Here are my, admittedly, very basic questions I asked when I visited the machine shop and that I was able to apply to the making of this dress:-
1. How often do I need to change my needle?
The advice was every six weeks or so. Mmmmm, so given that I got this machine for my fortieth birthday and I’m fast approaching forty two (October, for the record) I probably should have asked about this earlier… Needle duly and easily changed!
2. Why had my automatic threader stopped working?
These are so basic sorry, feel free to skip to the actual sewing bit… She quickly pointed me to the ‘up/down needle position button’ (see, I even got the manual out to look up the technical term). Another exciting, little button she introduced me to was the ‘automatic reverse stitch’, although admittedly I’m still perfecting the use of this as I’m tending to press either too early, and it doesn’t quite complete to the end of the fabric, or too late and it’s reverse stitching thin air.
3. What stitch do I use to finish off seams, instead off constantly using my pinking shears?
She pointed to the overcasting stitch and informed me that I probably had an over edge foot in the accessories pack that came with my machine. And indeed, I did! This was my favourite new discovery and I’m sure it will give my makes a much neater finish. It worked best on finishing my facings, rather than attempting to hem them. They looked a whole lot neater!
As Amanda promised (thank you!), the pattern was really quite straightforward. I was tempted to use a cute, contrasting collar, but in the end I figured this might make it a little too dressy, so opted for a bow in the same material so that I could wear it as a day dress. I think this just about worked out as a day dress, what do you think?
The actual dress pieces were plain sailing, as was inserting the invisible zip. However when I tried it on it was a little ‘snug’ around the hips which resulted in the back being all bunched up. To solve this I simply unpicked the centre seam on the front to allow a little ‘wiggle’ room and to avoid the unsightly back ‘bunching’. This, thankfully, worked perfectly. Although the bow instructions looked pretty complicated it turned out to be mostly common sense.
Because of my chosen material, it was the cutting out that was the longest task in this project. I thought it would look plain odd if my horses weren’t running horizontally so I had to cut separate bits and then re fold my fabric. I wasn’t able to cut the pieces for the bow the right way up though, but as it’s pretty well camouflaged by the busy print, I don’t think this part of it really mattered.
All in all I actually enjoyed forcing myself to slow down with this dress and I’ve probably become a much better wannabe-seamstress in the process 🙂